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A Request for registration of the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric in the registry of religious groups in the Republic of Macedonia

Respected president of the Commission for Relations with the Religious Communities and Religious Groups,

Since we did not receive an answer to both our letters sent to You, Syn.no.24 from 24 January and Syn.no.50 from 15 March 2004, the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric reached a decision, Syn.no.114 from 14 August 2004, to request an urgent meeting with You and to find a solution for the legal status of the abovementioned Church. Beginning from May 2004 until now we have tried at least ten times to reach You, but Your secretary always gives us the same answer, that you will call us when You have the time. However, during four full months You did not find the time to establish a contact with the Episcopes of the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric, who persistently asked for this meeting, an all this in a time when the issue of the Church is of current interest, in a time when the government in the Republic of Macedonia maltreats, evicts, puts on trial and imprisons the members of the canonical Orthodox Church in the Republic of Macedonia.

We have been trying to understand Your position in the current political situation, but in a legislative state the political will of the individuals must not be placed above the law. The law should apply for everyone, and the government should not discriminate and separate citizens to those with priority and those with no rights.

Without even considering how Your ignoring attitude offends all the members of the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric, we address this formal request for registration of the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric as a religious group in the Republic of Macedonia according to articles 9 and 10 of the Law for religious communities and religious groups. We send you a list of the members of the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric only from the town Prilep because the signatories from this town are more than 50, which is the necessary number of members for registration of a religious group. Since you Mr. president are from Prilep we chose to give You a list of believers only from Prilep, and as the people say, in any case, we send you a list of believers from the villages around Resen. In the previous letters we already mentioned that if it was necessary we would have given you a list of 5000 members. But, since the legal necessity requests for the signatures of 50 believers, we give you lists with the signatures of 94 members in the original, and the others, from Ohrd, Skopje, Bitola, Veles, Stip, Kocani, Strumica, Tetovo, Kumanovo and lots of other places, will be delivered to You if you say that the law does not apply now, so instead of 50 you now require 5000 signatures. We are prepared to do this as well only if you give us a period of three days.

We enclose with the same everything that according to the regulations of the Law for the religious communities and religious groups is to be sent by the founders of the religious group, which is the following:

1. An application for registration of the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric – as a religious group

2. The decision of the founders of the religious group from whence one can see the name of the same (Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric), the seat and the name of the person responsible for submitting the application

3. A list of signatories on the decision for foundation of the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric as a religious group (numbered 94, only from Prilep and Resen, in the original)

4. A regulation book for the organization of the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric

We also enclose the decision from the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Macedonia regarding the initiative of the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric for reassessment of the constitutionality of articles 5 and 8 from the Law for the religious communities and religious groups.

Because the foreign missions in the Republic of Macedonia, as well as the organizations concerned with the human and religious rights, informed us that many times you said how the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric hasn’t formally requested registration, we inform You that this request, together with the documents enclosed, has been sent to:

  • The Congress of the United States of America
  • The Delegation of the European Commission
  • The Monitoring Mission of OSCE
  • The Monitoring Mission of the European Union
  • The Government of Serbia and Montenegro
  • The Embassy of the USA
  • The Embassy of the Russian Federation
  • The Embassy of the Republic of Greece
  • The Embassy of the Republic of Bulgaria

With respect,

The President of the Holy Synod of Bishops
METROPOLITAN
+John of Veles and Povardarje and exarch of Ohrid

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